To find the best backpacks for work, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your professional setup. We recommend that you favor work backpacks that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that offer some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in the rain during your commute. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the backpack you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your daily essentials, such as tablets and laptops, will fit inside. When buying a backpack for work, always look for a durable build, a light form factor, and plenty of room for all of your most-used items.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Dakota Neoprene Backpack is the best backpack for work on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags available. 

Top 10 Best Backpacks for Work

 #1  Dakota Neoprene Backpack for Work

Dakota Neoprene Backpack for Work

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best backpacks for work and travel, thanks to being manufactured from durable and water-resistant Neoprene, with a mesh tablet sleeve and multiple pockets running throughout.

Pros
  • Made from water-resistant materials
  • Available in many gorgeous colors
  • Mesh tablet sleeve
Cons
  • Not machine washable
  • Not the largest backpack on market

The Dakota Neoprene Work Backpack is a great backpack for working professionals, thanks to a highly durable and water-resistant design, as this bag is made almost entirely from Neoprene. We appreciated the mesh tablet sleeve and the multiple pockets running throughout, as they allow for the storage of plenty of work-related materials. We also liked that this backpack is aesthetically pleasing and is available in a wide array of colors.

Though there are many pockets and compartments here, which can be useful, this backpack’s maximum capacity is on the lower side, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. Additionally, this bag is not machine washable, despite the considerable water-resistance on offer. Compare this with the best bags women can buy today that make for an excellent gym or sports bag because it’s machine-washable.

 #2  Bellroy Classic Backpack for Work

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best backpack for organization, thanks to a design that streamlines the entire process, with a padded tablet pocket complete with a pen slip and highly adjustable carry straps along the back.

Pros
  • Padded tablet pocket with pen slip
  • Designed for maximum organization
  • Mesh tablet sleeve
Cons
  • Cannot fit laptops above 15”
  • Average water-resistance

The Bellroy Classic Work Backpack is a great choice for consumers who prioritize easy organization above all else, as this bag has been designed to simply and effectively separate all of your most-used work accessories. There is a padded laptop pocket, a padded tablet pocket, and a pen sleeve for a stylus. We appreciated the highly adjustable carry straps here, allowing this bag to fit a wide variety of consumers.

Though the integrated padded laptop sleeve is handy, it will not fit laptops above 15-inches wide, so make sure to do some measuring before making a purchase. Also, due to the nature of the design, this is not an effective water-resistant backpack, though it does provide for some small amount of resistance against the elements. Just like the best beach bag, thanks to its highly water-resistant nylon fiber.

 #3  GoRuck GR1 Backpack for Work

GoRuck GR1 Backpack for Work

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best work backpack for men and women alike, with a water-resistant and rainproof design and extra-padded shoulder straps for added comfort during use.

Pros
  • Water-resistant and rainproof design
  • Extra-padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Bombproof laptop compartment
Cons
  • Extremely expensive
  • Only 2 colors available

The GoRuck GR1 Backpack is the best backpack for men and for women, thanks to a high-quality design and a superior feature set that includes a water-resistant and rainproof design, making this one of the best backpacks for school. We appreciated the ultra-padded shoulder straps, allowing for a comfortable carry. This backpack also includes a durable and legitimately bombproof laptop compartment.

This is an extremely expensive work backpack, likely due to the high-grade materials and advanced features on offer. Additionally, there are only two colors available with this bag, so it may not suit the aesthetics of all consumers. But for lawyers and other professionals, the best briefcases with durable and long-lasting materials will definitely be suitable.

 #4  Defy Bucktown Backpack for Work

Award: BEST DURABILITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Made from high-grade and ultra-durable 1050D ballistic nylon, with water-repelling YKK zippers running throughout and a pair of side pockets for water bottles and work-related accessories.

Pros
  • Pen holders for organization
  • Water-repelling YKK zippers
  • Side pockets for water bottles
Cons
  • Weighs nearly 3lb
  • Laptop compartment maxes out at 15”

The Defy Bucktown Backpack is a fantastic option for consumers who value supreme durability in their work bags, as this backpack is made entirely from 1050D ballistic nylon, which is tear-resistant, water-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. We appreciated the water-repelling YKK zippers running throughout, the pen holders located in the interior, and the pair of heavy-grade side pockets for water bottles and the like.

Though this backpack does include a dedicated padded laptop compartment, which is useful, it can only accommodate computers up to 15-inches in width. Also, this is a heavy backpack, clocking in at nearly three pounds, though it also boasts a decent maximum capacity. College students will also love the best college backpacks that offer enough room as well as comfort.

 #5  Tumi Voyageur Hartford Backpack for Work

Award: BEST SECURITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ships with a proprietary Tumi tracer keyfob, which helps locate lost and stolen bags, in addition to featuring a durable and lightweight nylon design and a quick-access phone pocket.

Pros
  • Water-resistant water bottle pocket
  • Quick-access phone pocket
  • Durable and lightweight design
Cons
  • Design may not appeal to men
  • Extremely expensive

This Tumi Voyageur Hartford Backpack is a great choice for consumers who want to make sure they will never permanently lose their favorite work bag, as this model ships with the company’s proprietary Tumi tracer keyfob, which helps locate lost and stolen bags. We loved the water-resistant water bottle pocket here and the quick-access phone pocket. This is also an extremely light backpack, at 1.5 pounds, while still being made from durable nylon.

Though this backpack is available in a wide array of colors and design options, each design is primarily intended for women, though results may vary when it comes to men. Additionally, this is an extremely expensive bag, likely due to the brand name and high-grade materials on offer. More affordable options business professionals and travelers are the best commuter backpacks.

 #6  Incase Icon Backpack for Work

Award: BEST FOR TALL PEOPLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Boasts a 15” shoulder drop, making it easy for taller people to carry it from place to place, with an attractive faux fur lining and a number of useful compartments and pockets, including a smartphone pocket.

Pros
  • Hip-side zippered stash pockets
  • External top-access smartphone pocket
  • Attractive faux fur lining
Cons
  • Cannot hold laptops larger than 15”
  • Not that water-resistant

The Incase Icon Backpack is a great choice for taller-than-average consumers, as it comes with a 15-inch shoulder drop strap, for the purpose of allowing for a comfortable carry to people of all heights. We loved the hip-side zippered stash pockets, for storing USB drives and the like, and the external top-access smartphone pocket. This backpack also boasts an attractive faux fur lining running throughout.

Though the faux fur lining and fabric exterior are extremely attractive, they do not offer much water-resistance. Also, this bag does include a padded laptop sleeve, but it can only accommodate screens up to 15-inches in width. Compare that with the best laptop backpacks for college students, travelers, and business professionals.

 #7  Chrome Urban Ex Molle Backpack for Work

Award: BEST CARRYING OPTIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ships with a pair of shoulder straps and five bar handles on the back, allowing for a wide variety of carrying options, with an integrated padded tablet sleeve.

Pros
  • Padded tablet sleeve
  • Highly water-resistant design
  • Two-strap harness for added comfort
Cons
  • Laptop compartment maxes out at 15”
  • Can be tough to fit third-party locks

The Chrome Urban Ex Molle Backpack is a great choice for those who like a bit of variety when it comes to carrying their work-related accessories, as this bag features a pair of highly adjustable shoulder straps, a two-strap harness for comfort, and five bar handles on the back, for attaching to other pieces of luggage. We appreciated the dedicated padded laptop sleeve here and highly water-resistant design which should keep your daily essentials safe during rainstorms or even through a quick dunk in water.

Though this backpack does also include a padded laptop compartment, it can only accommodate screens up to 15-inches wide, so take that into consideration. Additionally, it can be tough to find third-party padlocks that integrate with the design of the backpack, so make sure to do your research before buying a lock. And for moms, the best crossbody bags with an ultra-stylish design and high-grade manufacture will be perfect.

 #8  Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack for Work

Award: BEST FASHIONABLE DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: Aesthetically pleasing form factor, designed by a fashion industry icon, with a durable cowhide leather exterior and a 14” shoulder drop, making for an extremely comfortable carry.

Pros
  • Durable cowhide leather exterior
  • 14” shoulder drop for a comfortable carry
  • Extremely light, weighing less than 1lb
Cons
  • Design primarily intended for women
  • On the expensive side

This Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack is the best work backpack for a woman’s day at the office, thanks to an aesthetically pleasing design that has been created by a fashion industry icon. We appreciated the 14-inch shoulder drop, allowing for increased comfort during use, and the extremely light form factor, as this backpack weighs well under one pound. We also liked the durable cowhide leather exterior, which is tear-resistant and abrasion-resistant, in addition to offering some light water-resistance.

This is an extremely expensive backpack, however, likely due to the brand and the bag’s iconic creator. Also, the design here is primarily intended for women and male consumers may not dig the aesthetics. Women will also love the best designer handbags that feature attractive and iconic designs.

 #9  The North Face Recon Backpack for Work

Award: BEST VALUE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-minded backpack with some serious features, such as injection-molded flexible shoulder straps, for increased comfort, and a generous maximum capacity of 30 liters.

Pros
  • Available in dozens of designs
  • Maximum capacity of 30L
  • Injection-molded flexible shoulder straps
Cons
  • Cannot fit 17” laptops

The North Face Recon Backpack arrives at an enticing price while offering a robust and serious feature set that includes injection-molded flexible shoulder straps, for increased comfort, and a padded mesh back panel. We appreciated the generous maximum capacity here of 30 liters, which is more than enough for your daily work essentials. This backpack is also available in dozens of colors and design choices, suiting nearly any consumer.

Though this backpack is designed to hold modern laptops and tablets, the laptop sleeve cannot accommodate screens larger than 15-inches wide, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. But for the purposes of storing hunting gear and handguns, we recommend the best range bags.

 #10  Herschel Little America Backpack for Work

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-conscious backpack with a robust feature set that includes a durable polyester exterior, padded and contoured shoulder straps, and a generous maximum capacity of 25 liters.

Pros
  • Classic mountaineering design style
  • Can hold up to 25L
  • Padded and contoured shoulder straps
Cons
  • No water bottle pocket
  • Slightly heavy, at well over 2lb

The Herschel Little America Backpack comes in at a budget-friendly price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as padded and contoured shoulder straps for comfort. We loved the classic mountaineering design style here, which should suit a wide swath of consumers, and the generous maximum capacity, which can easily accommodate up to 25 liters.

The large maximum capacity here is great, though the backpack is slightly heavier-than-average, at well over two pounds. Also, there is no water bottle pocket included with this bag, though it does have a tablet sleeve and several other useful pockets and compartments. Compare this with some of the best day hiking backpacks that are durable, roomy, and water resistant.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide array of popular work backpacks, ensuring they simplified and streamlined the day-to-day life of office workers and creative professionals alike. To that end, we liked backpacks that boasted a generous maximum capacity, making it easy to fit a wide array of useful items.

On the topic of capacity, we liked backpacks that boasted a wide array of useful pockets running throughout, with bonus points awarded to bags with dedicated and padded tablet and laptop sleeves. Some bags also feature dedicated quick-access smartphone pockets and side pockets intended to be stuffed with water bottles, coffee bottles, or other workday beverages.

We liked work backpacks made from ultra-durable materials, typically nylon or polyester, that offered a good degree of tear-resistance, abrasion-resistance, and, of course, water-resistance. Finally, we liked aesthetically pleasing backpacks that were available in plenty of colors and designs, to better suit most modern consumers.

Best Backpacks for Work Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Maximum Capacity, Laptops, and Tablets
    Modern work backpacks generally feature generous maximum capacities, with plenty of room for your most-used and essential work items. You may want to do some research though, to ensure the size is up to snuff for your personal needs. These backpacks typically feature dedicated padded compartments for both laptops and tablets, though many force a hard limit on the laptop sizes they can accommodate.
  2. Durability and Water-resistance
    Modern work backpacks are exceptionally durable, thanks to a build that can easily resist dirt, tearing, and slight abrasions. These backpacks are usually made from high-grade polyester or nylon, with some offering bonded-leather trim and other durability-enhancing materials. The durability on offer here often has an added benefit, as many of these backpacks offer a fair amount of water-resistance, while others are nearly waterproof, thanks to the exteriors receiving treatment to make them repel water.
  3. Additional Features
    Many work backpacks offer a robust array of additional features, in addition to durability and a large fill capacity. These additional features include Velcro zippered pockets, hidden pockets running throughout for the storage of valuables, and comfortable padding. This padding can also extend to the shoulder straps and to the back panel, both of which allow for an extremely comfortable carry. Other additional features can include dedicated smartphone pockets and even, on occasion, integrated USB ports or headphone ports.

Backpack for Work FAQs

What is the best backpack for work?

The best backpack for work is one made from durable materials, such as nylon and polyester, while achieving a generous maximum capacity. These best-in-class work backpacks typically feature dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves, in addition to smartphone pockets and sleeves for shoes. They can also allow for a person to wear them on their shoulder, allowing them to double as a shoulder bag.

What are the best quality backpacks?

The best quality backpacks share some traits. They are always made from fantastic and high-grade materials that offer water-resistance, tear-resistance, and abrasion-resistance. They also generally offer a generous maximum capacity and a comfortable carry, thanks to padded shoulder straps and back panels. Leather backpacks that can easily fit a 15 inch laptop or a pair of shoes are a great choice as you bike to work, as they offer easy access to your laptop and smartphone, in addition to doubling as a travel backpack. They can also typically be used as a piece of carry on luggage, in addition to shining during your daily commute.

Is it unprofessional to wear a backpack to work?

Absolutely not. Modern work backpacks are a great and easy way to transport your most-used work essentials. They are easier to carry than a briefcase and integrate nicely with the biking lifestyle, making for an eco-friendly choice. They also offer plenty of storage space, adjustable straps, padded straps, leather accents, shoe compartments, zip pockets, drawstring closures, zipper pockets, and organization pockets.

What is the best backpack for everyday use?

The best backpack for everyday use is one that can easily hold and accommodate your most-used items, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and water bottles. These backpacks should be well made, durable, and offer some degree of water-resistance. In addition to being weather resistant, they can offer anti-theft technologies, backpack straps, separate compartments for gym clothes, and sleeves for laptops up to 15.6 inches.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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